View Full Version : The thirty six matrix

2010-01-03, 12:12 PM
The class matrix (3.x)

Here's a thought exercise I've been working on for a bit.
I'm getting the combat roles idea from 4E, and applying it to 3.5. It's been done before, I know, just wanted to try a few different things.
Basically, we have 3 "power sources": Arcane magic, divine power, and martial prowess, and 4 "combat roles": defender, leader, controller, and striker.
I want to apply this matrix on existing 3.x classes, trying to fill each combination, with the difference of adding 3 classes for each "slot".

The idea is to make each class have a power source and primary role, and have more than one class in each "slot", each filling a secondary role.
Example: in the divine leader slot, we can add cleric (secondary role: defender, due to heavy armor, good saves, and divine feats), archivist (secondary role: controller, due to access to a bigger spell list, including many crowd control effects, and ability to target enemy weaknesses, i.e., debuffing), favored soul (secondary role: striker, sort of, due to it being designed to be a bit more meeler, with a smaller spell selection).
The idea is to streamline the classes abilities, and allow combinations that can be usable in almost any area, but still strong in his own area, without giving up the simulationist aspect.
Toes stepping would be reduced if they belong to the same group, since they are just variations of the same theme. For example, Cleric, archivist, favored soul all belong to the same group, only different methods. A paladin would be a defender with some leader abilities, and marshall would be a buffer with minor healing abilities, so you will choose wich one you want for their varied abilities, not because "Class A does everything class B does, but better."
Of course, some house-ruled classes would be necessary. I like Fax's redone monk, for example.

To make it simple: What good classes are availables, on the top tiers, that I could use to make a list of usable classes, all having a "role" proper for him, but still usable in other roles?

I guess that by the end, I'll have 3x4x3= 36 classes. (+12 if I add psionics, but I don't know much about it, so I won't deal with it for now)

Ok, here's what I got thus far:
[B]Leader|Marshal(D)Crusader(L)|Cleric(D)[br]Archivist(C)[br]Favored Soul(S)|Bard(L)|
*Intuitive class found here: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/18832818/The_Intuitive:_A_wisdom-based_arcane_spellcasting_class,_take_2 I'll try to contact the author later.
The letter between parenteses are the intended secondary roles: (D)efender, (L)eader, (C)ontroler, (S)triker, (?) not sure yet.

So, I'm looking for suggestions to fill in the gaps. If anyone there can suggest me good classes, pointing from which book it's from (I can research the details myself), and suggest what primary and secondary role I could apply to it, I thank in advance.

Few ideas on houserules:

Divine Magic: Uses a mechanic similar to the default spontaneous magic, i.e., you "memorize" a spell list, and spends spell slots to cast them. "prepared" casters, like clerics and archivists can replace their memorized spells with spells from their spells known list. Expontaneous casters, like the favored soul have a fixed spells known list, but a slightly bigger spells memorized list, and more spell slots.
Arcane Magic: Uses the spell points variant. Prepared casters uses a memorized spell list, that he can replace with spells from his spells known list, and cast from there, spending spell points. Expontaneous casters like sorcerer and bard, like the favored soul, have a fixed known/memorized spells list.
spells in general: Just remove spells that are too troublesome or move them to higher level slots. Make defensive casting hard, like they did in Pathfinder.
Martial characters: Add martial maneuvers to all martial classes, and reword some weak class features.
New combat mechanics: A review on combat rules, more options, less dependance on feats/spells/miniatures/etc.

I believe anyone here can see a theme going. I want all power/role combinations have interesting options, and more than one, having each class be unique, but sharing some rules and roles among themselves, so they can be easily replaced, avoiding problems like "who's gonna be <class>?".
Also, keeping the whole group something like tier 3 or 4. Each class is strong in his area, and can help in others.
For example. No one picks a healer class, so one player decides to go paladin, so he can still go in battle, but have some spells for when the party need it, without needing to go cleric, or even a marshal, so he can still buff the party, and join the battle.
And in case a player decided to play a wizard, and other player wants to also play an arcane caster but don't want to repeat the class, he could go sorcerer.

I know it'll be some work, but would still be an interesting setup for some campaign ideas I'm working on, and helps putting in one place most of people's favorite classes.

For multiclass and PrCs, I have some ideas that I'll implement later.

I'll be checking the class and PrC tier threads here and others forums for ideas, and looking up the classes. If anyone have suggestions or opinions, I thank in advance.

PS: Opinions like "this idea sucks", "that class is overpowered", "this class is worthless", are actually welcome, if you can indicate me how to fix it.

2010-01-03, 02:38 PM
What are you referring to for each of the four roles?

In 4e, a Defender is someone who impedes the enemy, prevents them from moving past them, and penalizes enemies who attack other characters. The Leader is a buffer/debuffer. The Controller is someone with AoE and lockdown. The Striker is someone who deals lots of damage.

There are very, very few classes in 3e which match the description of the Defender - I think the Knight and one other are the only base classes who do, along with a few prestige classes like the Dwarven Defender. The Fighter and Paladin don't really have a way to prevent an enemy from walking right past them, beyond an AoO which isn't any more dangerous than a standard attack.

Leaders are pretty simple and mostly depend on spell selection. A Wizard Transmuter/Abjurer will end up being a Leader, simply because they spend most of their time buffing. I'm not sure why there's a difference between the Cleric and Favored Soul, given the same spell list - if anything, the Cleric would be more Controllery, with domains granting more spells. Crusader is described as getting power from a divine source. You have both Crusader and Bard listed as Leaders/Leaders. Archivist should be in the same category as the Wizard, given that they have mostly the same spell list from learning every divine spell (Cleric, Druid, Divine Bard, domain spells, multiple prestige classes).

I don't see how the Monk is a Controller, or how the Wizard is somehow different from the Sorcerer.

Striker is another funny category - what do they need to become a Striker? It sounds like the Monk should be a Striker, given the extra attacks they throw around (like a Ranger). A Fighter is really like a Striker too, or at least is normally build like one. I guess anything focused on mounted combat could be a Striker too, which would include certain Paladin and Druid builds.

2010-01-03, 05:32 PM
I guess I need to explain better the roles I intended for 3.x.

Defender, pretty much anything with high endurance/defenses, that can go frontline. The fighter and paladin counts as defenders because they are supposed to be heavily armored, and can get enough abilities to stop enemies from walking past (stand still, tripping), while the cleric, for example, can do the same by high AC and some control spells. As I said, I'm not making "roles" become "good at only one thing" like they did in 4E, but a more broad thing.

Leader is any buffer, really, including clerics, bards, AND paladins. Wizards could play as leaders too, but that's not their primary role, as they are more effective attacking enemies.

Controler is any debuffer/area shaper, that weakens and disturbs enemy formation. Clerics have some area effects, but he is better at buffying allies.

Striker is anything focused on more attack than defense. The "glass cannons". Monk would be a primary controller, secondary striker, for example. Druids will be hit with the nerf stick, using wildshape variant, and the likes. The idea is to push the tier 1 and 2 down to 3, and give a boost to tiers 4 or 5, if you know what I mean.

About the cleric/favored soul example: Yes, they have the same spell list, but different class features. That's what I'm working on. And there'll have more differences added later, either on ACFs, or some homebrew ideas. I'm only using the default RAW classes as ideas.

The monk I'm using is the Fax's version, as an example of a martial controler, by being a skirmisher/debuffer. The idea here is using that "secondary" role to expand what a character can do. I may actually put him as a secondary striker.

Crusader says it's divinely inspired, but there's no actual rules for divine magic from him, seing as he works in antimagic zones, and any person can learn his maneuvers with just a non-magic feat. I'm keeping him separated from paladins.

As I said, I know it's a weird concept, and it won't fit to most classes, that's why I asked if anyone knew any cool classes that would fit them while I do my own research. Variant classes and remakes are welcome as well.